While the Ashes have been retained, captain Tim Paine said the ambition is to win the series and, for that reason, the last Test is a like a "grand final" for the tourists. "He's been a part of some very special wins in Test match cricket, series home and away which he should be extremely proud of as a coach and the way he's transformed white-ball cricket and been a part of that journey is incredible", said Root.
England were beaten in the fourth Test at Old Trafford, meaning Australia have an unassailable lead and will leave the United Kingdom with the urn for the first time since 2001.
Smith is banned from leadership roles until March because of his involvement in a Cape Town ball-tampering scandal past year but he is tipped by some former players and leading cricket writers to regain the captaincy from wicketkeeper Paine after his batting heroics in England.
Vice-captain Travis Head has been axed for the fifth Ashes Test as Australia hunt a series win at the Oval, where Mitch Marsh will return to the XI. "I'll continue to keep working hard and trying to improve my game".
"We've not lost anything yet", he said. "It is important we win this game and have a really strong winter and move forward as a group". "We have spoken a lot about it".
But he said he knew the direction in which he wanted to take the team and was already looking forward to trying to win the Ashes in Australia in 2021/22.
However in his eight Ashes innings, he has averaged just 13.75.
Explaining the selection of Marsh, he said: "Bringing in Marsh will ease a little bit of the workload on the bowlers at the end of a long series". He averages under 20 after three Test innings.
The Fifth Test gets underway this evening, WA time.
"You can't just give them that experience, they have to earn that and we're very thankful to have Steve batting", he said.
Australia coach Justin Langer, revelling in having the world's top-ranked batsman and bowler at his disposal, is urging the other batsmen to step up in the match starting on Thursday (today), even though he admits they lack experience. "I've never seen batting like that. You've still got to perform whether you're young or you're a veteran, but we also have to recognise they are young batsmen and it's a really tough school and hopefully they'll come through at some point".
Steve Smith's glorious Ashes has raised calls from some fans and pundits for his restoration to the Australia captaincy but incumbent Tim Paine has no plans to hand over the reins quietly.
England: Burns, Denly, Root (capt), Stokes, Bairstow (wkt), Buttler, Curran, Woakes, Archer, Broad, Leach.